Resistance is futile…..when it comes to chocolate !


There is what i call the ‘MUMMY PYRAMID’ that all mums dream about.

This is the top mum who is always there for the kids, all their matches, parent teacher meetings (omg), who bakes lovely cakes and has amazing parties for them and who is always discrete so as not to embarrass the kids in font of their friends. However, as much as i have tried to , ( just tried to!! ) take part in this ratrace for the top of the mummy pyramid, I find myself diggging a hole deeper than the deepest one could ever imagine. till I found this recipe ( thanks to the supermoms of Minnesota and their amazing party ideas, thanks revati and jayanti) )

There are amazing desserts to serve up in a jiffy, takes only 5 minutes and will instantly zoom you to the top of the perfect mummy pyramid, way past the 4×4 driving mums, in perfectly matched shoes and bags, and of course make up, at 8am in the morning and who, actually walk to the school with poise and grace rather than charge into the school, dump the kids and rush back to an illegally parked car, nearly getting a sticker and lots of tsk tsk expressions from their alien counterparts!!!

All you need are these glorious beauties : strawberries, milk chocolate, white chocolate.


What do you do:

Simple, just melt the chocolate under LOW/MEDIUM power in a microwave till soft, checking every 20 seconds.

Dip the DRY strawberries in them and leave to dry on a rack.

Drizzle some melted chocolate on the strawberries with a spoon  ( no icing or fancy stuff needed)

Hide it in a fridge ( most important), I made around 15 and there were only 8 when i took them out for the party!!!!

Enjoy you position at the top of the pyramid :))) as long as it lasts!!




50 Shades of Aloo…..


No connection to the movie, sorry to disappoint you all 🙂 but this dish as christened as such by the original chef after seeing the various golden brown shades of these beautiful baby potatoes coupled with intense discussions over various dinner parties about the film and its psychology!!!

Its great cooking with friends and its even better when you cook with people who have OCD in general. Hence, for the first time in my life, I cooked using exact measurements ( though a teaspoon for me is two fingers and a tablespoon is 3 heaped finger full ) but that was allowed, after a lot of moaning and groaning by our Masterchef!!!


The beauty of this dish is its simplicity and low spice quotient, again something which was so painful for me to follow but the end result was surprisingly delicious!




MASALA : Grind or crush finely the following – 1 tbsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 3 cardamom, 2 cloves, 2 pepper corns, 1 small piece bay leaf

15-20 BABY POTATOES, boiled and shallow fried in oil, till it turns beautifully golden. Keep aside.

3 tbsp oil

1 onion finely chopped

1 tbsp ginger garlic paste

1 cup yoghurt, well beaten

1 tbsp kasoori methi ( dry fenugreek leaves )

1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp red chilli pd, salt to taste


Heat 3 tbsp oil, add chopped onion and stir till it turns transparent. Add ginger garlic paste, stir well. add the ground masala, stir with potatoes till well combined. Add 1/2 tsp turmeric and 1 tsp red chilli powder, stir. Add beaten yoghurt and combine all carefully and let it cook till oil leaves the sides of the pan. Add kasoori methi now. Finally add 2 or more cups water and cover and let it boil for 5 minutes. Garnish with coriander seeds.

The trick is to use these measurements and not give way, like me, and start using your own spices here and there :)))


Sharing a tiny bit of trivia, in passing…..

Dum aloo is a kashmiri cuisine and has been adopted by Bengalis who of course added the ‘o’ to it and called it floor Dom ( gosh, i really love the way they speak!!! ). Wikipedia tells me a very interesting story about the origin of Dum Aloo in Bengal. The Oudh famine in 1784 introduced Nawabi cooking in Bengal who substituted beef with baby potatoes ( supposed to be a dutch novelty then and hence taken up by he intellectual and westernised Indians in British India ) and slow cooked them according to the tradition of Ain-i-Akbari ( overnight beef stew).

Apres ski day 3

Another day of culinary delight…..started with a heavenly chocolate cake as a reward for our efforts on the slopes 🙂
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Rich and moist, you could actually feel the lush crumbs!

Soon, fresh vegetables were chopped and kept ready IMG_4764 IMG_4766 IMG_4767 IMG_4768 IMG_4771 IMG_4775 IMG_4776

Apres ski day 1

The plans took shape three years ago as soon as we finished our ski holiday in Les Orres and took three years to materialise 🙂 However, we were finally here and more than the skiing, I was more excited bc of the endles possibilities of learning a new cuisine. Natalie and Dan were brilliant and had so much patience to deal with my interference and never ending questions.

Anyway, menu for day 1 was chicken liver pate with fruit chutney, chicken in white wine sauce and vegetables and strawberry kiwi parfait.



Chicken in white wine sauce :

Marinade /season chicken and bake in oven till well done.

Saute mushroom in butter, add white wine and reduce till 1/3rd, add lots of cream, season, add tarragon.

Serve on a bed of rice.

Easy Banana Bites


How difficult is it to get 2 over-ripe bananas? I have always thought that its no big deal because there is always a poor old banana, lying unwanted, unloved in some corner of our kitchens! With this in mind, last weekend, when I spotted two such miserable souls, I announced to my brood that I was intending to make some banana muffins…..and hey presto, they vanished!!!! My brood thought that they had to eat just those blotchy, soft bananas that morning because it was the end of the world!!!!! Hence, i had to wait a full week ( and hide 2 bananas too 😉 to make this batch, inspired by Sherin’s superb blog.

Anyway, as it often occurs in my culinary travails, my first batch got charred ( thanks to Varun’s warm snuggle 🙂 ) and I had to put the leftover batter to use. The result was amazing, superset, moist, melt in the mouth cake. Do give it a try and share your photos too…


RECIPE: ( I hate measuring stuff because I am too lazy to look for all scales etc etc hence am putting my approximate measurements too )

2 unloved, over-ripe large bananas, mashed

Sultanas -100 gms ( around a big fistful ) , soaked in 1/4th cup hot tea water ( dip a teabag into boiling water and squeeze it out )

Plain flour 175 gms ( 1/3rd teacup); baking pd 2 tsp; soda bicarb 1/2 tsp; salt 1/2 tsp

Butter 125 gms ( half a slab ), Castor sugar 150 gms ( 1/3rd cup or more ); eggs 2 ; vanilla extract 1tsp


1.Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.

2. Mix/     plain flour, soda, baking pod and salt together.

3. In another bowl, melt butter in the microwave; add sugar, mix well; add eggs one at a time, mix well.

4. Mix flour int he egg-sugar mixture, fold well, add mashed bananas and sultanas.

5. Bake till done ( but be careful, don’t let it burn like I did ).


6. Serve hot, straight from the oven….You are guaranteed a special twinkle and a hug, like I got 🙂 …. In fact, Rhea even took pictures for me and added her own touches to the images !





An explosion of tastes ranging from spicy to nutty to sweet and savoury!!! Now thats difficult to resist! All made within minutes…..and with just few ingredients. If you don’t believe me, try it out for your weekend dinner. Its guaranteed to be a success…..
Midweek is my weakness! Wednesday , Thursdays feel really really long and thats when by midday, my mind starts furiously ravaging through scores of ideas about what to cook for dinner, and invariably end up with something thats comfort food. Its what brings a sense of relief at the end of a tough day, the ultimate prize after a great workout, and a great feel good factor. It can be in the form of a hearty soup, a bowl of rajma shawl or something that i cooked last night-

Chicken Fillets – a big bowl
Peanut butter-crunchy : 300 gm
Chilli sauce or fresh chillies to taste
Honey: 4 tablespoon or acc to taste
Onion garlic chopped : 1 cup
Sweet peppers : 3
Raw mango optional
Coriander leaves chopped 1/2 cup

Saute chopped onion garlic in very little oil. When transparent, add chicken and cook till done ( you can also just pop it int he oven and bake or microwave it if you want to save time ). Take it out and place aside. In the same wok, add peanut butter, mix it with water to make a runny paste. add chilli sauce, chopped chillies ( i add lots of chillies to balance the sweet taste ). add honey.
Combine it with the chicken, sliced peppers and mango ( optional ). Garnish with chopped coriander and serve it with a plateful of steaming rice or noodles !!!!!

AMAZING FACT: The feel of crunchy peanuts, fiery chillies exploding in your mouth and sweetness of honey trying to calm it down Love it….Let me know if you like it too, friends

Amazing Ammu’s Appams



Whats in a name? Its known by many many names i.e. appam, paneeyaram, gunpanglu, appe, etc etc but one thing that is universal is the feeling of nostalgia it evokes when you hear this name.

It takes me back to summer holidays in kerala, running to my grandma’s outstretched arms after a tough day of playing in the fields with friends from the neighbourhood, hair braided with the now wilted jasmine flowers and tiredness writ on our faces.All she would do is smile and slide a plate of these beautiful golden pillowy fluffy balls in my mouth and that would go on and on and on.



Those tender hands are no longer there to feed me, but their memories live forever and so do these appams.

Mum, who is soon coming close to as perfect as my grandma was, made these this morning and hence, am sharing the recipe with you.

Please do drop in within the next hour or so if you want to sample them too 🙂 🙂 🙂IMG_4342IMG_4331


Soak 1 cups urad dal , 2 cups rice and a handful of methi ( fenugreek ) seeds for 6 hours, grind it to a smooth batter and keep overnight to ferment. add salt just before cooking. Pour dollops of the batter into the appam bowls ( non stick ) with only a spray of oil in each. Once a side is done, spray with oil and turn again and cook he other side till golden.

Serve hot with easy groundnut/coconut chutney!!!!

Warning: Its so addictive that you will find yourselves standing by the hob for at least a couple of hours because your family will not have had enough 🙂 🙂 But hey ho, thats why we cook, isn’t it!!!!

For The Love Of Peanut Butter!!!!!


I made fudge! It looked like fudge, it smelt like fudge and it really really tasted like good fudge! Haan bhai haan, barfi banaya and that too without hours of standing and working my biceps and triceps ( remember the slow long painful process associated with barfi making


You might ask. so what?!


The truth is that i am pretty lucky with most things in life but feel the struggle and pinch to make small things happen, things that come easily to people…..for example- i have managed to kill each and every plant that has entered my house  and when it comes to recipes which are out of the way for normalings like me . well……for every successful recipe there have been hundreds slaughtered along the way , hmmm, well, not that much , i am exaggerating, but you know what i mean! 


IMG_3827So when i decided to make something dedicated to peanut butter and all peanut butter crazy friends, I was prepared for it to turn into a messy sticky lump!!!! However, this turned out great and hence sharing this 4 minute wonder with you…..

Positive points – it has peanut butter, what else do you want positive in anything!!! its super easy, needs only 4 ingredients, no formal measurements,

Negative points – you have to get someone to hide it as it will disappear in minutes. It is a darned diet buster, but then, who cares! its heavenly sin !!!

I found this recipe on bbc good food-


Half slab butter melted with 2 cups dark brown sugar and 1 cup milk till it boils. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla essence. Place 1 heaped cup icing sugar in a bowl and pour the peanut butter mix on top. using a wooden spoon, beat the mixture till smooth. Pour in a baking tray and chill till set.

Devour it instantly otherwise you will not even get the crumbs !!!!

Ammu’s Kerala Fish curry

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The Story of my Life

This is a familiar story and i am sure it has happened to you too. You can cook and cook and cook but you will never be as good as your mom. Mothers are magic, they are perfect and i happen to have one such perfect being here with me…..There is a certain magic in the ways mothers cook, there is no recipe, no measurements, no fancy names like Dauphinoise potatoes or Blanquet de Veau. Its just chicken curry, fish fry or sambar but the taste far surpasses even the best of best Michelin star chef’s signature dish. I have always tried to make it just the way mom does, but although I am nearly there, I am still not there, if you know what i mean 

Many of you have asked for mom’s recipe for fish curry which is really really yummy…..and by that I really mean that its really really yummy. So here it is…..
Warning: This is the recipe but there is no guarantee that it will taste the same; you might as well come home and get her to make it!!!


Mackarel 2, cut into small pieces

Grind the ingredients stated below –
( Half cup grated coconut, Fresh coriander seeds 4tbsp , Chlili powder to taste, Turmeric powder to taste, Half an onion )

Raw mango or dried kokum
Slit Green chillies
Curry leaves -handful
1 tbsp coconut oil

Add the paste and fish together, with slit Green chillies, curry leaves, raw mango or kokum for taste , 1 table spoon coconut oil in a earthen pot if you have one or in any saucepan
Heat till it boils, then simmer for 15 minutes…..
Serve with steamed rice.

Never say never….. Especially if you’re wife says so ;)

Sunday, 19th October 2014

I have never been a distance runner. Having played a lot of fast sports I kind of enjoyed the sprinting aspect, but never could have thought myself capable of doing 13.miles..even now the thought makes me shudder.
It was really Smitu who dragged me literally with my heels firmly dug in the ground and entered my name for the Birmingham great run. With Subhash for company I could not say no. Being an orthopaedic surgeon, one tends to develop a healthy sense of respect to Running as a sport…after all, there is never any dearth of injured, would-be marathon runners, in my clinics. All through the winter of 2013 and early 2014 I tried my level best to back off from the half marathon with any possible excuse that I could think of…but nothing worked. Eventually I gave in and started training. Initially I was doing small distance runs, mostly as a way of keeping fit for the bike ride in August. I could immediately sense how cycling was softer, a more scenic but very time consuming activity. You could basically run anytime and anywhere with just a pair of shoes. Slowly I began to fall into a routine of twice weekly running with Friday evening ones with Subhash. I remember very clearly one of the time he took me for a 10km run. Was flat out for the next week. All thoughts of running the full distance completely wiped out. If it was meant to generate confidence the effect was anything but the opposite. I became convinced that my body was not designed to run – period. Every set back was a exercise in reinforcing that negative belief.

The day arrived slowly but surely and nothing Could have prepared me for What was awaiting..Amar dropped us off near The ICC on the brilliant, sunny, warm, October morning and we reached The start point…the crowds… incredible!!! People everywhere. It felt really special to have baba there With me. Secretly had decided that I Was going to run in Aai’s memory so his presence was very poignant. Met With rest of the gang very soon and after a little warm up we set off at 11.00 hrs. Me Rashmi and Subhash had decided to run together so tried to keep pace with them. The first few miles felt a struggle and doubts took hold. Had done a 16km run on Thursday and had felt straight away that we shouldn’t have done it so close to the main run. Was I still tired and maybe have to give up half way? I knew Rashmi was carrying an injury so wanted to make sure we were with her all along. My right foot also started to hurt a little straight away. Anyways, I thought to myself, I am sure there’s no major issue, I can deal with this. We got to Pershore road and I must have gone into a bit of a running zone not realising that I had got a bit faster. Looked around after what must have been about 10 minutes and Rashmi and Subhash were nowhere to be seen. Stopped for a minute at the corner to see if they would catch up but no luck. Next few miles went in this strange confused state. Wanted to catch up and wait for them but did not want to lose the rhythm either.
That’s when it hit me. There were so many spectators along the way in all shapes and sizes and cheering all the runners along…’in my mind all of you are kenyans’ ‘run like you stole something’ two ladies on the bike on the corner urging us clapping non stop…it was something I had only seen on tv at major events..!!! For the first time ever I thought to myself..these people could have done anything else on a Sunday. But they chose to come here and spend the beautiful warm Sunday October morning cheering us instead. There were residents who had put loudspeakers on their front porch a la Carnival style. One was blasting the Rocky theme music at it final crescendo and I felt suddenly like Stallone running up the Philly monument steps. Without thinking I jumped up and did a skip step with my arms out wide 🙂 :-). When the woman next to me gave a real sidey look I immediately started my normal run again.
Slap-slap-slap…I could hear all the runners around me pounding the street…the sounds were so rhythmic…i became acutely aware of everything and everyone around me..a woman with a message on her shirt about her husband John McGee, The group of runners from Alicia Boparai foundation, the ladies with the large red polka dot skirts…and then there was me…Not really sure why I was doing it? No message, no cause, no finish time target, no friends to run with anymore? What the hell was Smitu thinking when she put my name in!! And to top it all she wasn’t even here….grrrrrr. I came across this old arthritic man who must have been in his 80’s walking along at as-brisk-a-pace as he could. In another one of my efforts to stop for any excuse to allow Subhash-Rashmi to catch up, I stopped to chat with him and asked him why he was doing it..and he replied ‘just to prove to myself that I can!’ And it hit me then…I had always believed that I could not do it…’distance running was not for me’. I had said that to Smitu all along the last 2 years when she was training. It must have struck a chord with her. She had known me for so long and must have seen the lack of self belief..Not some thing she has seen in me often…and perhaps that is why she wanted me to do it. Just like she did for herself. And then I started sprinting…the rhythm took hold of me. The bhangra dhols, the Caribbean steel band, the Sunday church choirs spurred me on. I made my mind up to finish it at my own pace and time..’Just keep soaking it all in’ I told myself. ‘You may never get the chance again.’

Before I knew I had gone past the halfway point and was approaching the corner of Edgbaston ground. Smitu was going to be waiting on The Mac @ Cannon Hill park. Camera at the ready to click away as I arrived! So I texted her but did not get a reply. No Smita at the Mac entrance! I stopped to call her and she came running out. Got the most fabulous hug and a kiss from her..She seemed super thrilled to see me. An impromptu photo session followed culminating in me almost tripping on the kerbside trying to look behind me for a photo pose 🙂
Gave her a final wave and ploughed through the park towards the Free Radio counter. My would star jump got the dj’s attention. I was behaving like a child really, no maturity at all. Oh well what the hell! Who cared anyway. At the 10-11 mile mark I started to notice my feet were hurting badly. Felt like I had a large some under my foot while taking every step. It was agonising. In an effort to take the pain away I started thinking about Aai. It was 18 months since she died. All the painful memories came flooding back. Her last few moments, her shocking acceptance of impending death, her courage in facing her worst fears, our decision to let go of her…..Her best gift to me was her unflinching determination and loyalty..One that meant ‘never give up’ . The sense of self belief that she wanted me to keep. She would have wanted this for me.. the last two miles went by without me thinking about my feet. Thought about Smitu Rhea Varun Baba ….suddenly loud cheers rained in my ears. I looked up ahead at the sign…1km to go…I was entering broad street..the crowds lining the street were cheering loudly…a crescendo of whoops spurred by the announcer counting down 3,2,1…There was not an inch of space between the jostling crowd lining the barricades.
Drawing on the last ounce of reserve I went thru the finish line!!! 2 hours 22 minutes , I had done it, and proven myself wrong in the journey. I could only have done it by believing in my ability….no more excuses would be needed. Smitu knew something about me that even I did not believe I had.

Kalpa reached soon after and Subhash and Rashmi came along soon after. I felt really guilty about not having run with them. But I did really try. After collecting the Tshirt and medal I went around to meet Baba who was thrilled to see me and have abog big hug…and told me that he was proud of me….something I had always wanted hear him say..One thing I had spent my childhood yearning for…his approval of me.

In the end I guess that running the half marathon was about self discovery, self belief and a realisation that others sometimes know you better that you know yourself!



Dear kids

On the brink of new year 2013, I made 2 resolutions- to get your grandma to lose weight and to be happy throughout the year. Being happy is a vicious cycle, you are happy, others around you are happy and inevitable you are happy again and the cycle goes on and on. One thing I realized very early on in this quest of continuing happiness was that it was important to keep running….not in the literal sense ‘running’ but just running ie going on and on. When things stagnate around you, life stagnates and it stinks…..hence I decided to run run run till I found out that it was literally running that I ended up doing J

Running for me has always been running from home into the car in the mornings, late as always to work, running from the car park to the shops to prevent my hair from getting wet, dragging kids indoors out of the rain , etc etc…..The running bug caught on this year….having avoided several attempts at being blackmailed to run by friends. Ram,from the strictly ‘I hate running’ camp warned that it was bad for the knees etc etc while varun from the ‘running, duh! So boring, you just run’ gave me a funny look as if mum, c’mon…..running, nooooo….its so boring…

( I desperately wanted you both to think of me as the supermom ;))))

Still went ahead with the plan.

As usual, my plans were 80% bookish ( read as googlish!) and 20% training.

Read read and read volumes about running etc etc and realized that probably it was more common than cycling.

Ok, that’s fine.

Next, downloaded lots of apps including one which crashed my phone too …. But ended up using google tracks ( thanks Eric and Larry, love you both so much )

Downloaded some half marathon training plans (snigger snigger) …since when have I stuck to plans!

Bought some really expensive shoes and gear (after all, glamour is part of life, eh! ) you have to look the part!

And finally registered for the race!!!!

Hey presto….i expected to run instantly but that never happened and soon found myself 2 weeks before the D-day, in a sweat, wondering if I could even make it to half point….

TRAIN: training is a very sticky topic….when where how in this 24 hour span which feels like 2-4 hours.

But one of the easiest things about running is that you don’t have to wait for someone for good weather etc etc….you just run! Its easier to stick to known routes because you know how many miles you have done.

MUSIC: the most important companion while running is music. Have a theme song and follow its rhythm. Viji said that hers was ‘its all about money’ and I found myself running to that rhythm, till the day when I found my theme and nothing has stopped me since….check out ‘one two three four…get on the dance floor’ from Chennai Express……mind blowingly fast and fun!!!! Got me an extra 4 miles the first day itself J


I could not have done this without the help of you kids because you had faith in me! Varun started his sprints soon and I secretly wonder whether it was because of me running ( well, at leaset I like to think so J . it took me a while to get into the groove. I realized htat the first 3 miles are the toughest. After that, you ease into the pace and then for the next 5 miles at least you are set. The last 3 miles are sheer effort not because of physical exhaustion but because of mental boredom! Now , why should you go round and round like a hamster…..that’s when events like races help, when the whole atmosphere rocks and you are in sync with others like you.

Training for a half marathon is not easy and there are times when you will be bored. Get a running partner who will encourage you and run with you at times. But there will be times when you have to run alone….your ‘me’ time. Enjoy it.


In the beginning, my speed was around 13 minute a mile….somehow bc of lack of training, I never managed to get below 11 minute a mile ( yes, there was a 10 minute mile, no idea how that happened….never repeated)

Thankfully no one told me that the ‘normal’ running pace was around 10 minute a mile or else I would have quit ages ago. However I ran only 6 times before the D day ( and that was my training)….of course I am not proud of it but various reasons ( ummm…mmm excuses) prevented me from training the way I wanted to. The practice runs were 2 m, 3.6 m, 6m, 8m, 4m, 4m .

The eve of the half marathon, there was excitement all around. The family was happy for me and I was high on adrenaline. I never thought that I would be excited in something that ram was not involved but excited I was.


On the day, my partners in crime, Rashmi Subhash and Viji came home and we were given a lift by amar and mum. Viji, intensely stressed out, bc of the fear of being late and also because she was surrounded by us useless folks who cared not about the marathon but about the celebrations and margaritas following the run 😉

As usual, there were delays , but this time it was because of road closures all around the city centre.2013-10-21 09.50.14

As soon as we parked and started walking towards the waiting area, I stopped in my tracks….there was a sea of bobbing head, swinging to warm up tracks. It grew bigger and bigger and louded by the minute. A sea of around 20000 people, joggers, runners of all shapes and sizes, ages surrounded me and soon we were drowned in them.

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Rashmi and me did try to persuade viji to take the easy option, well, she was not impressed!

The race started and from then, I never looked back.

2013-10-21 09.44.23It was amazing to see ethe organisation. 20000 people running and an equal number of volunteers happily providing refreshments and drinks at the right places. Hats off to them. cheering people on does boost your morale; made me run faster every time i encountered a group of happy spectators and of course photographers. There were scores of power drinks and water bottles strewn around and they were removed with the same pace as the runners.

There were so many stories around, each runner had a story to tell.

2013-10-21 09.45.40From Jamie who was running for his mum, who passed away last year after suffering from breast cancer, to people supporting the Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

2013-10-21 21.56.23Met a lady from oxford, dressed in a Viking costume, compelte with nipple tassles , etc….she was around 60ish and power walked all the way, she said that this was her 8th half marathon this year and she had run in 25 marathons in total!!!! Wow!!! BTW, she is Elaine Horsey ( newspaper article )

The route was relatively ok. The first three miles were painful but soon got into my groove. Mile crossing signs along the way were the saviours and were like oasis in the deserts.

The best sight was however of mum waiting by Morrisons, ont he street, inthe rain to catch a glimpse of me 🙂 was thrilled to see her!! and love this photo with her at that moment….


Within minutes of that precious kiss, i saw it!

The Finish line…..a feeling that i iwll cherish all my life and something i want you both to experience.

Caught up with Prashant at the finish line too, all chuffed and proud, having finished it under such adverse events faced over last few months. We took our medals and several photos.

Felt like a celebrity

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I particularly like this one; shows the thrill in our eyes of having done the run! Although i am sure he thinks of me as the grim reaper ever since 😉

….one job done; one target achieved; one tick off my bucket list……


Already registered for next year half marathon with Ram J …..and boy, he was not pleased!!!!

I am not sure how rich my friends are but I am definitely rich because of my friends (AP)

I am not sure how rich my friends are but I am definitely rich because of my friends ( golden words of a friend )

This statement made a deep impact in my mind. How true, how profound! Found my mind wandering again and again to this very statement leading to an immediate introspection and perhaps a quick reflection and count of how rich or poor I myself was. And as I sit here, writing this blog, just a few days away from ticking one of the boxes of my Top 100 Things To Do Before I Die, I feel proud and chuffed, realising that I am indeed rich too, very very rich because of friends like you.


Preparing for this ride brought together people from all walks and ages in the last 12 months. Each and every person had something different to offer, each valuable in his or her own way. We had our differences, our fights and our tears, but we never walked away from our goal. We could never have managed this without our whole team of 26 people. Once the ride is over, I know that we will all walk away into the shadows, but each richer than before, having amassed the wealth of friendship and kindness.




A mix of emotions well up but some other questions rear their heads like Medusa in full flight. Is it all worth it? Will we raise enough to support the school? Will we all be still friends after the trip? Will the kids be safe? And so on and so forth. Ram always reminds me during times like these that its natural for me to worry like this- its instilled in every mother….a mother’s instinct . And so I take it as a complement and start a full blown panic attack 

wpid-2013-07-26-15.22.48.png 

The good news is that our cycling jerseys (which had been finally ordered after many many hours of discussions, unending bargaining/canvassing amongst members for the best options) arrived yesterday and they look fantastic!!!! Got excellent service from the online company called OWAYO. Wonderful quality stuff with names engraved , etc etc. The only downside was that some of the jerseys are slightly smaller than expected but that’s not the fault of the company. They have mentioned in the website that these jerseys fit snugly (If anyone wants to order them, then please go for one size larger )


The final mapping is now completed and the brochure has been sent out too. Hotel bookings and transport arrangements all re-confirmed. Had a wonderful meeting with all those involved in the organising group which was very productive. Decided to get medals made for the final reception. The excitement in the air is palpable , just cant wait!!!!! Rashmi and Sanchita will be coming, kids and champagne in tow, to receive us at the Eiffel tower. I think I am looking so far ahead that I keep forgetting that I have to endure a 3 day ride before that .


But still, all I know , is that today, I am one of the richest people in the world  with so many friends wishing us all the best in our long journey to make the world a better place than it already is!!

London to Brighton…..Its definitely not a downhill route to the sea!!!!

1976, 60 Riders and a 95 Mile Route!

The first ever London to Brighton Bike Ride was in 1976 when 30 friends cycled from Hyde Park to Brighton. The bike ride is approximately 74 miles long and goes through some breath-taking country lanes in Surrey and Sussex and ends on Brighton’s world-famous seafront.
Approximately 750, 000 riders have taken part in the BHF London to Brighton Bike Ride since 1980, cycling 40 million miles between them!   Speaks volumes about this route and the ride in particular , isn’t it. Partly famous as it is the day 1 leg of the London to Paris route, via Newhaven and precisely the reason we decided to try it out 4 weeks before our London to Paris ride.
On average, it takes around five hours to complete the ride ( are they joking!!! it took us a good 8 hours )

Our intention was to map out rest places ( pubs, restrooms, hills, etc) but nothing prepared me for what i experienced…..nothing at all!!!!

So finally it was saturday and we eagerly and excitedly caught the 6.30 am train from Solihull to London Marylebone. Our Duracell bunny, mom, was up and ready to say goodbye to us at the station. Of course, Vazzy took another nap in the train too….( i am tempted to put the photo of Varun snoring away in the train but dare not 🙂
Reached London Marylebone at around 8am and soon we were immersed in the steady stream of commuters and holiday makers. London! this city never ceases to amaze me…there is a certain magic in its air, a sense of freedom, thrill, suspense and mystery too.
                                Passed a whole rack of bikes parked right on the platform.
Some were really interesting, some pure innovative.
Soon enough, I was reminded of my mummy status…the boys left me alone, juggling with 3 bikes. Felt so embarrassed
Soon we set out on to the streets of London. The first thing that struck me was that London had become extremely bike friendly. There were Boris bikes parked everywhere, bike lanes on most streets and lots of people commuting on bikes. Impressive…..

Passed some wonderful spots  and onto the cycle highway 7, a nice broad expanse that took us all the way from central London to the suburbs.
However, Ram’s experience of cycling in London does sum it all up too….
Cycling in London was some what a bizarre experience. It’s rare to find a place that is so geared up for cycling and yet to have drivers on the road hell-bent on knocking you over isn’t it? Given the number of cyclists on the road and the cycle super highways it’s quite strange that the cars and the lorries have such a scant regard for anyone on the road traveling without a steel cage around themselves. ! It took a while for me to get used to negotiating the streets , not really helped by the constant shrieking of the wife behind me who thought that I was on a suicidal mission.
Of course, what I would rather forget is the path via Tooting and Morden. The roads soon narrowed here to a single lane . Cycle lanes were virtually non-existent because they were hidden by  innumerable HGV s along the road. Fruit markets, saturday shoppers, Big Issue vendors, kids in prams, moms in tow, half in and half out of the shops, etc etc… their midst, my men were on a mission…..they were trying to outdo James….our James Bond yaar… nipping in and out the traffic. sometimes it was Ram, overtaking from the left, or else it was  Varun from the right. They would shoot off leaving me huffing and puffing, in all sorts of stress, phone less and helpless. so obviously as you can imagine, for  the first 2 hours , there was hardly any chitchat amongst us. The moment our eyes would meet, we would just bark at each other and Varun would growl too!!!!
However all this changed once we reached past Mitcham.
Eventually the madness of the traffic gave way to the familiarity of countryside lanes.
That was the beginning of the climbs, one after the other….just long shallow climbs… we just saved all our hisses and spats for use at the end….. 🙂
After a nice downhill stretch on A237 manor road, we reached Coulsdon road, which was the first hill.
Slow and steady on jubilee way near grange pub.
Took left on to Rook lane and the left on to Alderstead lane which led to Shepard hill, another climb….aaarrghhhh
After a few twists and turns, we reached our much awaited next stop!!! By the side of a cricket field!!! Of course, it has to be….you are not an Indian if you don’t pause by a cricket ground and pay respect to it….whether there is a game going on or not!!! Dad and son dutifully stopped and ooh-aah-ed the game while I happily clicked some horsie pics to the left of the field :)))
The next few climbs kept feeling tougher and tougher and our progress slowed down to a crawl. Vazzy who is normally a very strong cyclist seemed to be flagging. The heat was relentless but we kept egging each other on.
One thing that seems to happen when you cycle with a group is that you can almost predict when the others want to stop and when someone will get lost
Ram: I am now quite used to getting an earful from Smita on most of the trips for zooming ahead of her……
Another climb awaited us : Rookery hill, loved it as we passed through its welcoming cool canopy of large leafy trees. Stopped again at the Dog and Duck pub to refresh and reload our bottles.
IMG-20130708-WA0034It was a lovely place and I wished we would turn back at this time. but the look on Ram’s face when i just had that thought in my mind made me hastily change my decision!!! By then, we came across some more cyclists who were headed to Brighton as well.
Back on the road and another climb just after Balcombe road….felt very dizzy and light headed….but carried on. Vazzy had disappeared and Ram was struggling too. Felt so weak and tired that i just couldn’t carry on, so we stopped at a petrol station to get some refreshments. I had heard somewhere that cycling for an hour burns 500 calories, so I had already prepared Ram all along the way that since we would be burning around 5000 calories, there should be no restrictions ont he junk i eat… there we were, munching away happily, on crisps and chocolate bars….ahhhh, heaven at last!!!
But alas, that was not to last long…..we were back on the saddle with renewed vigour ( what a difference calories make – positively and negatively too). Saw the hazy silhouette of a mountain range ahead of us and brushed it aside as it seemed too far away. Varun asked me if we were headed that way and i confidently replied that it was too far away and anyway, silly, we are heading towards the sea, we will go down from here, of course. Aaahh, how wrong  I was !!! Each agonising turn of the wheel led towards the mountains and soon we were doing the painful but as promised by Ram, the last  hill climb towards Devil’s Dyke. It was worth it and we were greeted with stunning views of the area.
A hot air balloon magically rose up and i really really wished i could fly away , then and there in that 🙂
(Ditchling Beacon is the highest point of the Ride at 815 feet. Takes around 45 minutes to reach the top, most of the people walk through rather than cycle!!)
Once that was done, the ordeal was over. The route was pretty flat after that and downhill sometimes too. we soon reached Brighton and cycled back amidst civilisation along the promenade. But there was a strange silence between us….no, we were not waiting to spit and hiss at each other again….in fact, we were rather in a melancholy state because we were at the end of the ride. the pain and effort that gelled us together would disappear soon and we would blend in with the daily shenanigans of life.
Reached a pub who directed us to another pub up the road. I dragged ram and varun towards that side uphill again only to find out that I had taken the wrong route ( drat!!! we cycled 80 miles without losing our way and I had to guide them along 200 yards and still I managed to get us lost!!! ) What followed afterwards was pure heaven: Pimms, wine, fish and chips and chocolate brownies!!!! Could you ask for more……oh yes, need a bed!!!
Caught the train back to london and reached at midnight….once again, London, i love London!
Cycled along the mad streets to our hotel and crashed straight into the soft welcoming bed of our deluxe suite ( free upgrade after seeing our sorry state, i think ) in the Bloomsbury Hotel, very close to all the stations.
It was only the next morning that we realised the beauty of the place….and excellent service too. Had to leave soon and headed back home…..
An interesting conference noted in one of the Bloomsbury hotel suites – Learn to be rich workshop: Rich Dad Education…..Hmmmmm, i wondered what education we were giving our son, who was busy oiling the wheels of his bike, trying to impress the two blondes who went past him, eyeing his cycling gear all over :))))
Ok, back to  the pain…..hmmm, lets say it lasted for a while :/
would i do it again….of course yes….

” What’s in a name? That we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.


Stratford upon Avon- a name that is synonyomous with Shakespeare and thronged by millions of visitors each year. Being only 21 miles away, for us, reaching there and back has always been one of the easiest ways to grab bike miles , however, it has always been a very daunting task. Especially when you ride with bike-demons like Mahesh in the group who is known to do the 40 mile return journey in less than 3 hours without a single crease on his forehead.
Anyway, last weekend was the day we decided to head for the S town and capture it. As usual, our ever so punctual group started off a good 45 minute late ( but hey, thats the IST ( indian standard time :). The main and most cheerful addition to the group was Rashmi. It would not be politically correct ot say that I would prefer her to Subhash as a co-rider , but then hey ho, who cares!!! Subhash ( the other half-better or worse, hmmmm….) cant giggle like she does, nor can his peals of laughter ring and scare the colws in the countryside ;)).

We took the usual route from Solihull to Stratford via Henley in Arden. The day was perfect with the odd shower. Passed this field of yellow buttercups and spotted Mrs Moo’s family , taking an early morning siesta, wondering what in hell are these guys doing breaking out into a sweat….for a moment, that thought echoed in my mind too :). Stopped for a quick pic and sped ahead.


Mahesh came across an old friend, a recycled scarecrow. No idea why he was placed there, in the middle of a residential area and no fields in sight! Probably a scarecyclist rather than a scarecrow 🙂


A few miles ahead, we spotted some huge horses with the most delicate and kind eyes you could ever see. Ram was a bit intimidated by them initially and soon they were munching greedily on grass from our hands.


Soon, we were back on A34 in Henley in Arden and thats where the thoughts of the cows started re-echoing in my mind. There was a sort of competition between the beasts on the road to mow us down. It is indeed really scary when these 100 ton machines whizz past you, leaving you shaking like a sole leaf in autumn.


One of my favourite stopping spots: the Manor hall in Wooton Waaven. There is something very magical in the way the water flows down this beautiful waterfall , which always always slows me down. I have taken so many pictures but still keep going for more.

Ah, and my loyal steed , proudly posing on the bridge. Isnt she a beauty!!! so proud of her 🙂


Soon we were at the outskirts of Stratford….all excited. It was great to see Rashmi still pedalling. a bit envious too as I remembered my first ride to Stratford and fighting with Ram midway because he would not let me have the desired breaks ( although it was bc i was stopping too frequently for more photos 🙂


Loved the moments spent resting by the canalside, watching life go past, as if in slow motion. Moments we all have experienced and forget so quickly. The pleasure in sharing the same cup of coffee and hot chocolate with friends, of stealing bites of a sole sausage roll and taking innumerable useless photographs.

The rest of the ride into S town was a breeze with ram being ‘mobbed’ by a group of chinese tourists for photographs who demanded that he should pose on his bike and not just stand with them 🙂 Although he denies it, i think he was pretty chuffed at the whole experience….


Prashant did try and go upto the chinese tour bus in an attempt to get noticed and have his star shots taken too, but for some reason or another it didnt work out. We managed to cheer him up with a solo shot in front of the Shakespeare museum 🙂 now proudly his facebook profile picture


Stopped for breakfast at this riverside cafe The Encore. It just seemed so perfect and quintessentially english! Soon, all that vanished because it had items on the breakfast menu like florentines and egg benedict. No full english breakfast with hash browns and sausages, that is blasphemy if you ask me!!!!  That was  a total no no. It was then no surprise that the restaurant was the haunt of the pretty Stratford upon Avon ladies in summery white dresses and gladiator sandals with perfect blond hair and equally perfect kids to match :/ . However, due to hunger pangs, even the guys agreed to cross the road to the sausage rolls and egg bacon bar and feast their tummies rather than their eyes 🙂


But of course, being the shameless cyclists we are, we jsut had to take a small peek in the washroom….the above picture is of the Wine cellar en route to the wash room…aesthetically decorated place. Would love to come here in the flowery summery dress routine ( ahem/amen to the pretty and blond and delicate stuff )


Anyway, the decor inside was admirable. The doors of the washrooms were really interesting; in the design of old books,  really impressed ( will pardon the egg benedict or some saint’s name. Imagine calling something Krishna chicken or Narayana egg roast  😉


On the other hand, guilt ridden for having left Subhash behind and that too on Father’s day, Rashmi tried to get something for him and settled on cheescakes instead ( now i am not to be fooled into thinking that she wanted to cycle with cheesecakes packed inside her backpack!!!)


Well, the truth surfaced soon and so the cheesecakes disappeared (un)grudgingly . We continued peeking into the shops at all the nice nice nice things inside…..


only to realise that the boys were keeping themselves busy peeking at all the nice nice nice things outside ….hmmmph fake tans!!! Need i say more- the grin on my man’s face says it all :)))

the cheesecake disappeared suddenly and we set off;

Another ride done, another wish fulfilled, another dream dreamt……45 miles clocked and one step closer to fulfilling someone else’s dream.


The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step !

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The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!

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Once again, its Saturday morning… eyes fluttered open to the chirping of birds outside, soft breeze wafted in through the small slit of our window, lovely golden sunshine lighted up the face of my angel who had managed to squirrel into our bed sometime during the night…..and suddenly BANG, CRASH, OUCH, the opening, closing and painful exclamation of someone who was trying to get into gear early in the morning!!!!

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Good morning, Saturday……and once again, its time for the training ride.

As I groan, turn away and try to nab a few more winks, the cycling fairy in me takes charge. I change, still grumpily, into my cycling gear, which by the way, is in dire need of update (unless you think red bike with pink helmet, yellow fluorescent shirt and blue shoes match).

Hubby is busy competing with the morning bird outside the window, both in terms of chirpiness and speed, getting things ready for the ride. Backpack, food bars, drinks, puncture kit, tissues, waterproofs, etc etc…..well, being a woman in a man’s sport does have its advantages 😉

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And soon we are off, on track, on another training ride. ( Ram annoyed at my lagging behind while others are ready to shoot off!!) Its times like these that I always wonder as to why I am in a situation like this….why cant I be like the hundred other mums, enjoying a late breakfast on a weekend morning, sipping coffee with loved ones and snuggling back into bed just because…..well, just because! That was when I remember a title from a blog I read recently, interestingly a Solihull based cyclist blog- the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!

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( via brueton park: oh how i would like to just stop here 🙂

Life has been kind to most of us. In the sense, I don’t mean that we all had cushy lives, we all have had our fair share of problems too but we have managed to make it this far. The only way to be thankful to what life has given us is to give it back in some form to life itself. All we need to do is a very simple thing- you just need to make others happy. Life for them, whether they are your family, friends, neighbour or colleague (with the exception of kids, of course! You don’t have to do anything for them because its instilled in you. Living your life for your children comes automatically, according to me)

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( Now when did he grow so tall….dont remember the in-between years at all 🙂

Hence the whole idea of cycling appealed to me over the last few years. Although I started it reluctantly, mainly to keep an eye on hubby’s safety, it soon turned into a passion. Soon, our son joined in with us and weekend rides were one of the things we would all look forward to. There is something special in the air when your teenager rides with you. Flashbacks from the past, of his first tricycle, then his bike with suspensions and his first fall come gushing and so do the tears ( well, I am an easy one at that!!! Years of experience, I guess 😉 Soon, others joined in and it was really heart-warming to notice how we grew into a brood, all happy, relaxed and committed.

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( can cycle along these lanes forever )

Raising awareness for causes by doing long hard rides soon had its fruits and from a small group of 6 cyclists, we are now 22, riding all the way to Paris. Eventually we will raise a lot more awareness and money for our charity than what we would have done as a small group. My thousand miles journey has just begun and I have no idea where its destination is. All I know is that I will have lots of people joining in with me, great hours of fun on the saddle and happiness in the fact that we will be raising awareness for a cause which will benefit the life of others.

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Cycling and other events last year helped us build an entire floor in the village of Bodarli, near Burhanpur, MP, hence led to more education opportunities in India. A girl child will not have to go uneducated and will be able to offer better care to her family in future. Events also helped fund part of a van to transport children with special needs in Solihull, UK as well as a van in India for patients will mental health issues. And all this started with a single step, a small thought and a lot of ideas……

We have already started our first few steps this year as part of our training for the London to Paris ride in exactly 8 weeks from now….OMG , where is the panic button!!!!! Hence, here I make a promise…..Saturday morning, I will not moan, groan, complain , bitch or be jealous of all ye mums snuggled at home at 6 am in the morning……my aim of a thousand miles will start with my first few miles…wherever I am, whatever I do …..Viva la Paris, here I come …

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A step closer to a better life….a better future 🙂

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 Pain in the landing gear! ( google translation)

Route: Solihull to Warwick

Distance: 40 miles circular

Ride 2 : 26.05.13

Back on the saddle for another gruelling 40 miles on the road.  Decided to take the Solihull to Leamington spa usual, I was a bit apprehensive as we had never been on that route before.


The combinations in the group were different too. This time, we had 2 newbies in out toon town- Prashant and Nishant. P had been gearing for this trip for days and was the first to arrive home, with his bike in tow , but with no air…..lesson 1: to reach Paris, you need to learn how to fill air. The others reached sooner or later and we set off, once again through brueton park. Ram, Nishant and me reached the park but the others were no where to be seen. thanks to the wonders of modern technology, realised that they were further ahead, having taken t he ‘short-cut’

Lesson 5:  stick to the map!!!!guys, there is nothing more annoying than waiting for someone 🙂

I wouldn’t complain though…gave me time to get some nice clicks.

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Went along brueton avenue and up the bridge crossing the M42 into Knowle….thats where my backpack started feeling heavy ( who asked me to carry the big camera!!! Moi, of course) and who would be the first one to point it out- the hubby, of course….my ‘I told you so’ man snapped but eventually gave in and carried it for the rest of the ride , awwwww.

The ride was brilliant with some lovely views. Kept worrying about N and P but they were doing great. Nishant’s cheeks started turning red in varying shades and you could tell that we were increasing our efforts by the deepening beetroot colour he had acquired in the next 20 minutes.

Came across fellow cyclists who waved and cheered everytime they passed ( except for P, who felt that he was ignored bc he was not in proper cycle gear- now who told you to wear jogging bottoms and tshirt. Mahesh reckons they feel that he is out to buy milk and eggs from the local grocer 😉

Reached Warwick ( no idea how leamington route converted to warwick) and past a steep incline in town, reached a welcoming pub.

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It was a great feeling and loved every minute soaking in the sun and beer.

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Was interesting to see the look on M’s face when he got a whole fish, grilled….scales galore, the whole works….( now, for those who dont know,  us indians, have a habit of destroying all resemblance and  flavours of any type of food with the strongest of spices and fish is no exception, hence it was a surprise when an identifiable object like a fish was on the table 🙂

Anyway, it was not M’s day as he was the butt of all jokes ( pun intended 🙂 but he didnt mind at all and all was in good spirits…..

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Met Louis, a cute dog, who mainly understood french and very little english. Did try to converse with him in moi french, but like most males, all he cared was being pampered and stroked…..and thats just what i did 🙂

The return journey was a blur, the aim was to keep going on and on. Was immensely proud of P and N, both excelled and cycled back safely, considering that this was a 40 mile ride and not easy even for relatively senior riders….. reached home, tired but victorious, 40 mile veterans , and of course with the excuse of ‘i am too tired’ for the rest  of the night!

Lessons learnt:

1. Never underestimate the beginners…..enthusiasm and pride always wins ( cheers to N and P )

2. Wear the ‘proper’ gear if you want to be taken seriously by fellow cyclists ( read as if you want to get the cursory nods and whassups!! )

3. Stick to path, stick to path and stick to path.

4. assess hills and lower gears in anticipation, slowly increasing the resistance.


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Life is like riding a bicycle – in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. – Albert Einstein



Ride 1: 25.05.13

The idea of the next ride always emerges and solidifies during a charity ride and that was exactly the same old way that the L2P ride was conceived. The  enthusiasm and booming confidence of the coast2coast cycling trip spurred the idea of L2P which soon took shape. I was happy being the secretary of the group, booking hotel rooms, reading up various reviews of food ( ah…and wine too), sorting out travel arrangements. The weather too played host and deterred the ‘would love to cycle but…..’ cyclists from going out on their bikes ever since we returned from the C2C.

However,  months of cajoling coaxing threatening and bribing ( hot pub food followed by chilled beer!! Told you , food always works with me ;), the day finally arrived when the British weather also parted ways with my meandering mind and decided to shine through. There was no excuse to dig deeper into the duvet and I knew that I had run out of excuses. Ram had already decided and spread the word amongst the group so we knew that the ride was on, come rain or storm !

On day 1, we  were joined by the usual suspects: Raja and Subhash and soon we set off through BruetonPark.


DISTANCE: 25 miles

It was a great ride and I was happily clicking away. 6 miles down the road, there was a beautiful bluebell wood and I longed for a peek.

Viola!!! It was as if God heard my prayers and Bang! A puncture.

Obviously the guys got started on it straight away ( I think they feel very much the alpha male when they repair punctures etc, just like a bbq ) while I escaped into the bluebell woods.

The ride continued through a forest trail from where 3 horse riders emerged, a beautiful sight framed by the golden glow of the morning sun. There is something so majestic about horses,the way they trot, head held up high, proud and snooty, but equally deserving.

The rest of the ride continued happily clicking away and then catching up with the guys. Spotted a horse and its pony in a perfect setting….enjoy. It was mother nature at its best that day. had to climb over a hedge to take this shot and cursed myself for not bringing my Canon with me.

Lessons learnt:

1. if you are cycling anywhere in temperatures less than 10 degrees, please layer up. We wore 3 thin layers with winter cycling gloves and a neck scarf ( wish there was a nose clip- nothing is more embarrassing than runny noses during a cycle ride.

2. always keep a good quality tissue on the back of your gloves where the velcro straps to the wrist, useful in dabbing those unglamorous noses.

3. Always carry a spare tube in your bag and puncture repair kit.

4. Do take a good quality camera with you, reagrdless of weight….you never know what you might see around the corner.

The best things in life are free…and around you always

Its easy to take it all for granted.

The uneventful days that begin with trying to get the kids up for school and end with a kiss and a snuggle. Interspersed are the weekends in the park, a small bunch of wild flowers and the attack by the swans by the lake. Days of watching teletubbies and feeding the totally impalatable weetabix, repeated over and over again. Finishing the snowman in winter because Rhea was too cold to finish it and defrosting the little cold hands when they come back from school. Finishing off leftovers from their plates, playing in the bath with the kids till their skins wrinkle like a washer woman. Being the tooth fairy and being the secret santa.

Of course I worried about lots of things too. I worried that if varun didnt share his toys, he would never be able to get on with anyone in his life. If Rhea was not docile, she would end up being a bully or being bullied i school. Also worried if she would ever grow hair, what if Varun stammered…..luckily none of that happened.

Life moved at its own pace and before we knew it, the mornings were replaced by the well rehearsed rituals of good byes and see you in the evenings. They no longer needed the weetabix or teletubbies. soon replaced by the big bang theory and beans on toast. The hand that i used to clutch while crossing the road was no longer there. instead, my 12 year old was always 2 steps behind me. The little girl , who adored my sense of hair styling, now makes her own hair as well as faces in the mirror, which i fail to comprehend. Life in now a routine of taxi service and cheque signing. I soon learnt that it was important to keep up with them rather than make them listen to us. Gone were those days of teaching them ‘mary had a little lamb’, rather it was time for me to learn ‘ titanium’ and ‘little wings’. I have learnt to be invisible but available when their friends come around.

Slowly they stopped smuggling into our room at night. There were no longer fights to use our bathroom and no one to steal the last piece of cake in the fridge. The bedroom door which had always been open, now remains closed. The boy who was always clutching my leg, now clutches his phone 24/7. It hit me then that i have reached a new phase in our lives: the teenage era. a difficult phase, turning my cute chubby angel into a sulky grown up  alien, who was totally foreign to me. That was a moment of reflection, as to where has he disappeared to…..the moment, alone in bed, when a tear rolls down my cheek, replaying the last argument i had with him, asking myself how and where i went wrong. How did i change from being the apple of the eye of the most adorable baby in  he world to someone not desired at all….i try now to take each day on its own, to dance with the moment, faster and faster. Sometimes i slip, sometimes i glide…..i try all i can to keep up, i cook, fill the fridge with goodies they like, keep out of their conversations with friends, try and act cool…..

in the last few days, i have realised that very soon, my son will fly the nest and i have to start now by letting him go. Another 6 years and rhea will also be ready to take flight. That will be dawn of a new era. The house will be quiet. Rooms that looked bombed at the moment will have an ethereal feel to them. There will be so much of choice on which tv programmes to watch. No acting as a referee or a taxi driver. The most perfect gift in my life will soon cease to exist in its intensity. Of course, love will always be there, the family being stronger and more united. but living int heir own capsules.

Hence i have decided to savour each and every moment now. the simple everyday things in life…..the lazy weekend mornings, family dinners, the kids and us all slumped in a couch, fighting over the duvet and watching a movie, the last minute rush to the stores to buy a pen, the reluctant kiss at night…..i try to look for any sign of the chubby obese child that varun once was. I long for his cheeks to turn red when he would laugh, like it did when he was little. i dread thaT my little princess would soon turn into a young woman and be whisked away to her fairyland by her prince charming.

Nobody told me that the most precious moments were not the ones i had on my holidays abroad, or during special occasions. The most precious moments were those which quietly passed away. I would do anything to hold my baby in my arms again, to feel his soft skin against mine. To bake a cake with rhea and clean the kitchen for hours after that.  To see the pride in her eyes when we would bake a fancy ‘ in her eyes only though’ cake for her birthday… but i know those days will never come again. but i can definitely extend my present!

So i finally learnt to cherish the gift i have, the gift of all those perfectly ordinary days……the gift of my perfectly perfect family 🙂



Birthdays are nature’s way of telling us to eat more cake!!!!

And being born with a sweet tooth, i intend to do exactly that, on diet or not!!!!

A few weeks ago, while going through innumerable food blogs, i stumbled upon this wonderful recipe. The icing on the cake ( pun intended ) was that it fits exactly with the requirements of a food cheat like me……no, its NOT a low fat cake or an eggless cake!!! Its just a no-fuss cake, hence already goes way ahead in my priority list 🙂

There is always some chocolate fudge icing hidden deep inside the cake cupboard, waiting to be used and cookies n cream ice-cream is always welcome in our house. Oreo biscuits , of late, because of clever advertising, has become a ‘must have’ amongst kids, so getting the ingredients together is not an issue at all.

Hence, Rhea decided to make this for mama and of course, with the ever so dutiful helper, aka, me!!!! ( Now i realise all my mum had gone through years ago!!! )

OK, so here goes….


Collect all ingredients…..


The main cook mixes it all 🙂 ( mix brownie mix, oil, egg, ice-cream and chocolate icing)


Layer oreo biscuits over a layer of batter and top it with the remaining batter. ITs so difficult to keep your hands off , even at this stage!!!! Go ahead, you can definitely lick the bowl clean 🙂

Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until cooked…. mmmmm, it so delicious……



Serve hot with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream……The kids and me finished half of ours within minutes of getting it out of the oven!!!

The Reward: 

Rhea- mum, you are the best!

Varun- uh huh….mmm, its good.

Me: flying high in blissful motherly delight 🙂


1 pack brownie cake mix

eggs and oil according to the recipe in the cake mix

3 heaped scoops chocolate fudge icing

1/2 cup cookies and cream ice-cream

1 packet oreos biscuits


Combine eggs and oil with the brownie mix as instructed at the back of the box.

add ice-cream and fudge instead of the water.

Preheat oven and spray an 8″ square pan with cooking oil.

add a layer of batter, then a layer of oreos and then cover with a final layer of batter on top.

Place in the oven and cook till done ( takes approximately 40-50 minutes )

Serve hot with a generous dollop of vanilla ice-cream.


Whats a fake noodle: an Impasta ;)


Staying in a family with 3 generations, food is never an issue in our house. There is always food in abundance, so it a matter of choice for me whether to cook or not! Well, it may sound perfect to some of you, but mind you….its not Jespecially when your motherly instinct kicks in , you make something special for your kids and they say ‘oh, Grandpa just gave me beans on toast!!!’ grrrrrrrr there goes all the maternal affection and the background Bollywood style soft sentimental music.

Last evening was one such evening. I rushed home from work with images of my kids coming bounding to the door, screaming ‘mum, I am hungry, what are you gonna make tonight?!’ and always in my imagination, the first word that comes to mind is ‘pasta’. Anyway, none of that happened, as you would have guessed by now but I still went ahead and made pasta ( the kids , of course, promised to eat it after giving me curious looks aka why is she so excited about pasta?! Its just pasta, for goodness sake!!! )

I just love pasta in all shapes and forms… gives you a warm, satisfying feel ( carbs, of course J ) one of the most versatile dishes, can be made in a jiffy, can be modified according to your wishes ( we Indians find it difficult to resist adding a green chilly in the end, even though there is no place for it in the original recipe 😉


Firstly heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a thick bottom pan.

Add sausages and cook till golden brown on all sides.

Remove and drain the oil from the sausages on kitchen towel.

Cut it into pieces and keep aside.

Keep water to boil in a large saucepan, add 1 tsp salt

Add 2 cups of uncooked pasta to the boiling water.

Keep a colander ready for draining the pasta when it is nearly done.


Add 4 cloves of sliced garlic to the remaining oil in the pan.

Add 2 cups of chopped vegetables ( courgettes, baby tomatoes, sweet pepper, onions, sweet corn, beetroot, in fact add any veg that you fancy….)

Mix well with a large spoon till vegetables are nearly done.

Add the cooked pasta, canned mixed beans and tomato puree.

Add chicken stock ( 1 heaped tbsp of chicken stock granules to one cup of boiling water: I use the leftover water from the pasta )

Mix well with sausage chunks.


Season with salt and pepper to taste, perhaps some chopped green chillies too for those who cant do without it ( I definitely need it in everything J )


Serve steaming hot with a dollop of crème fraiche or 2 tbsp double cream.


Now just sit back, relax and enjoy this heart warming meal.